Molnar Fabry Unveils the Ultra-Thin Carpe Noctem Skeleton

Hand made, hand finished, and very slim.

Based in Slovakia, Molnar Fabry is a pair of jewellers-turned-watchmakers who specialise in elaborate skeleton watches. The duo’s repertoire is diverse, ranging from a repurposed split-seconds pocket watch movement from the 1930s to an Omega Co-Axial cal. 8500 that looks nothing like the industrially-produced original.

The brand’s latest is unusual, its first ultra-thin dress watch. Commissioned by a client as most of its watches are, the Carpe Noctem (Latin for “seize the night”) is just 7.1 mm high, and powered by a reworked Vaucher VMF 5401.

Initial thoughts

The VMF 5401 is a finely constructed movement – as all of Vaucher’s movements are – but rarely decorated in such an artisanal, intricate manner. Molnar Fabry’s revamp of the movement reveals much of its detail, while also showing off the brand’s skill in working with metal.

Because Molnar Fabry’s watches are all one-offs that are hand made, the aesthetic varies tremendously, depending also on the client’s taste. The Carpe Noctem is cleaner and sleeker than many of the brand’s other creations, but boasts just as much craftsmanship in the movement, which is a good thing.

The chapter ring for the hours is steel finished with circular graining, with the Roman numerals being engraved and filled with black lacquer, while the hands are solid 18k pink gold

At €35,000, Carpe Noctem is priced like earlier, comparable watches by Molnar Fabry. It’s a substantial sum of money, but a reasonable ask considering that the watch is unique, while the movement is largely made and finished by hand. It’s a fraction of what a similar watch by an establishment brand would cost.

Vaucher powered

The case is 18k pink gold and 40 mm in diameter, while being just 7.1 mm high – a height made possible by the VMF 5401 inside. A movement also used by Hermes and niche independent makers like Kikuchi Nakagawa, the VMF 5401 was challenging to skeletonise because of the slimness of its components according to Michal Molnar, one of the brand’s founders. Mr Molnar adds that the calibre’s “quality is amazing”.

All of the skeletonisation on the VMF 5401 was done by hand – meaning a saw and file – as was the hand engraving and decoration. The wide bevels on all the bridges, for instance, are rounded and polished by hand – a feat given the thinness of the components.

And because the movement is so thin, an additional bridge had to be fabricated for the hour wheel in order to preserve the stability of the movement.

The bridge for the hour wheel

Besides the hour wheel bridge, Molnar Fabry also produced a new micro-rotor in 18k gold. Exactly reproducing the weight of the original – another major challenge according to Mr Molnar – the micro-rotor is engraved on the movement side and set with a brilliant-cut ruby on the dial side. As the rotor spins while the watch is on the wrist, the facets of the ruby catch the light, giving the dial a little sparkle.

The ruby on the rotor is visible at nine o’clock

Key facts and price

Molnar Fabry Carpe Noctem

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 7.1 mm
Material: 18k pink gold
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Vaucher VMF 5401
Functions: Hours, and minutes
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 48 hours

Strap: Leather with 18k gold pin buckle

Limited edition: Unique piece made upon commission
Availability: Similar watches are available upon request
Price: €35,000 before taxes

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